In the mid-1890s and early-1900s store windows and newsstands were swamped with advertising bills promoting books and magazines. The “literary poster craze,” as it was known, was a movement by literary promoters to use new and modern multi-color lithography to sell their products. But these century-old advertisements were not just quickly slapped together drawings by storybook marketing departments; rather, they were carefully constructed pieces of art created by artists who either were or would soon become quite famous, such as James Montgomery Flagg who created the iconic “I Want You” recruitment poster featuring Uncle Sam. Edward Penfield, the famous Harper’s illustrator, had numerous works of his turned into promotional posters. John Sloan, who was a member of the Ashcan School—a group of eight artists including Robert Henri, Arthur B. Davies, and Maurice Prendergast who were renowned for their depictions of urban environments—created an advertisement for William Lindsey’s Cinder-Path Tales.
For the first time ever, the Salmagundi Club has agreed to let a commercial gallery display their collection of 170 posters. The display begins Sunday, August 19th from 1-5pm and runs through September 7th on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am-6pm each day at the Hudson River Gallery in Yonkers, which recently moved into a new building on the revitalized Yonkers’ waterfront.
For more information on the exhibit, or to learn about the gallery’s art and paper restoration services, contact the gallery at (914) 964-0401 or visit them at Station Plaza—86 Main Street, Room 302.
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